Washington, DC - As we recently announced, the Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop on September 15, 2016 to examine the testing and evaluation of disclosures that companies make to consumers about advertising claims, privacy practices, and other information. Our goal is to encourage and improve the evaluation and testing of disclosures by industry, academics, and the FTC.

Whether you have conducted academic research on disclosures or have evaluated disclosures for a company or organization, we would like to hear about your experiences. What evaluation criteria and testing methods have worked for you? What are the costs and benefits of different testing methods? What can other organizations learn from your experience? We’re less interested in what disclosures you developed and more interested in the methods you used to evaluate them. What methods did you use to determine a disclosure was effective or ineffective? How were you able to use test results to help you improve a disclosure? What evaluation methods help you understand how consumers use disclosures in practice?

The FTC has a long commitment to understanding and testing the effectiveness of consumer disclosures in a variety of areas. We’ve issued guides to help businesses avoid deceptive claims in areas such as endorsements, environmental claims, fuel economy advertising, and the jewelry industry. In the privacy area, we have been encouraging the development and testing of shorter, clearer, easier-to-use privacy disclosures and consent mechanisms.

We’re interested in evaluations of any type of disclosure to consumers, whether delivered offline or online, in forms that include icons, product labels, short text, long text, audio or video messages, interactive tools, and other media. We want to hear about evaluations that assess a number of different factors that impact the effectiveness of disclosures, including whether they contain the most essential information, and whether consumers notice them, direct their attention towards them, comprehend them, and are able to use that information in their decision making.

Read more about the event and how to submit a presentation proposal at https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/events-calendar/2016/09/putting-disclosures-test.

The deadline for submitting requests to present is July 15, 2016.

Academic researchers may also be interested in an event the FTC will be hosting on September 16, 2016, the day after our disclosure evaluation workshop. The FTC Bureau of Economics and the journal Marketing Science will co-organize a one-day conference to bring together scholars who are interested in issues at the interface of marketing and consumer protection policy and regulation. The goal of the conference is to promote intellectual dialog between marketing scholars and the FTC. The conference welcomes all papers that address issues at the interface of marketing and consumer protection policy and regulation. Theoretical, empirical and experimental approaches are all welcome.